Academic Context Argument
Ever since the introduction of the first gasoline powered vehicle we have entered a downward spiral developing us into a world of pollution, global warming and depleted natural resources. The recent domination of large Sport Utility Vehicles and Trucks of today's auto market has elevated the problem. SUVs and Trucks are notorious for their poor gas mileage and as a result, have elevated pollutant content in their exhaust. A major factor of this is their massive weight having to be driven by large engines resulting more exhaust output. However midsize vehicles in their massive numbers account for a large portion of pollution as well. It is time for a change in transportation methods. It is time we look toward the future, to consider the fate of following generations if nothing is done now. If no change is made to alleviate this problem the outcome will be desolate to say the least. The increasing pollutants will add to the further destruction of the ozone layer, allowing harmful ultra violet rays to reach the earth's surface. As oil resources lessen the demand will increase and the conflict for control will heighten far beyond the quarrels of today in the Middle East. With this conflict of control and depletion of oil around the world the consumer is forced to pay increasing amounts of money to fuel their inefficient vehicles. A change must be made in the automotive market to remedy the desolation of our environment and of consumer's wallets. The answer lies within the technology of hybridization of today's vehicles. A solution that would provide increased efficiency and gas mileage; resulting in less emission of harmful pollutants and extending the mileage per tank. Surely one considerate of our future would not allow the gradual destruction of our environment and resources to continue. Consider the future of our world, for it does affect you; you are responsible because you are a part of its destruction, or its preservation.
It is well known among Americans and those all around the world that the vehicles of today have a large effect on the pollution present in the world. It has long been a subject of controversy in which many environmentalists adamantly oppose the further production of high pollutant vehicles. Whether directly or not, automobile abundance in today's world has a great effect on the stability of our environment. Rather than modify current vehicles, such as hybrid conversion, some believe the solution to this problem is to eliminate that which is causing the problem. A proposition pushing the remove of personal automobiles from the public market all together and instead relying on a system of public transport and human powered locomotion. Indeed this would drastically reduce the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere and help conserve valuable resources utilized by automobiles, mainly oil. Consumers would save large amounts of money by not purchasing and maintaining vehicles, and thus be able to afford a higher standard of living. Widespread usage of human powered transport such as bicycling and walking would greatly reduce the frequency of obesity and overweightness as seen in many European countries. Although a very valid point, there are some fundamental flaws with this argument. Such a transition would be widely opposed by those who rely on automobiles for daily activities and earning a living. Automobiles have become a part of our culture and integrated heavily into many lives. The automotive market fuels many markets in today's world. Vehicle plants use large amounts of metals, plastics, glass, fabric and countless other products to construct vehicles. The loss of large-scale automobile production would result in great losses in the markets such as metals and plastics. Those promoting this change would have to confront the massive job loss by those who work at vehicles plants and plants which supply the industry with parts and components. Without a new industry to augment the massive cut in the automotive industry economic effects would be drastic. The automotive industry is not one what could just be taken away, such a solution would far too many negative effects. Rather why not modify the automotive market to continue to fit the need of the public as well as alleviate the problems of pollution and stripping of resources.
Although some see the positive effect of the hybrid technology on the auto industry, they still have doubts about its feasibility. Opposition lies heavily in the cost and performance aspect of the hybrid drive system. Many may consider this new technology to be an under powered enviro-car pushed by environmentalists and publicity starved celebrities. Most importantly sporting a price tag requiring a celebrity salary to afford. While such arguments could be substantiated through extreme views on what constitutes good performance and cost, one can see that they are inaccurate upon further investigation of the issue. The implementation of the hybrid system can vary from a very minimal to a major part of the drive train. This ability for choice can provide varying cost options and performance effects. A “ ‘mybrid' ” (Armstrong) system actually allows for greater power, fuel economy and emissions. The system utilizes a “ bigger battery and electric motor…[to take] some of the load off the gasoline engine”, allowing the gas engine to solely drive the vehicle, power is actually gained from this system. These “mybrid” systems could be implemented for as little as $500 to $1000 above sticker price. Even the full implementation of the hybrid system does not suffer cost and performance. Their usage of an electric motor to drive the vehicle at times provides lot of low-end torque, allowing V6 acceleration in a four-cylinder engine. Such a modification is estimated to add only about $1,500 to $3,000 to the sticker price. Before denouncing that cost as too high, one must consider the money saved over time by almost doubling fuel economy of their current vehicle. According to J.D. Power and Associates quality survey, “fuel consumption was the second most common driver complaint industrywide” (Hakim). Even those who purchased the fuel-efficient Hybrid Toyota Prius proclaim fuel consumption as their number one complaint, as well as owners of the gas guzzling Hummer H2 (Hakim).
Although the engine would increase the cost of the vehicle somewhat, the money saved over time due to increased gas mileage would equate to more than the extra cost for hybridization. A range of $500-$3000 increase in cost, depending on the level of hybridization, becomes less intimidating when one looks at the result of their purchase. Not only does the fuel-efficient technology save hundreds of dollars a year on gas but also there are certain benefits to a hybrid vehicle. Currently the government has in place tax breaks for those who purchase hybrid vehicles. According to David Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor Michigan, the government is currently offering up to a $2,000 tax break, this nearly covers the extra cost of the hybrid vehicle. Although this tax break is to be phased out in 2006, a proposed bill by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch would increase the tax break for hybrid buyers to as much as $ 4,000 (Brown). If such a bill were to be put in place it would be hard to deny the advantage of purchasing a hybrid vehicle. It is clear that the public is very aware of fuel consumption in their vehicles, especially now with the recent high fuel prices. Now more than ever would the public be agreeable to a very feasible and workable plan to remedy their fuel consumption complaints and environmental concerns. A vehicle with nearly doubled gas mileage, thousands of dollars in government tax breaks combined with the piece of mind of helping to lessen further detriment to the environment; provides a very alluring case for hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid technology promises to change the way we think about automobiles and their effect on our world today. With the widespread implementation of hybrid technology into vehicles we would be able to greatly diminish the pollution of today's vehicles. “ Each extra gallon of gas burned increases consumer reliance on foreign oil and produces carbon dioxide, which, scientists say, contributes to global warming.” (Heath) The decrease in pollution would allow for cleaner living environments in metropolitan areas riddled with smog and pollutants. The onset of hybridization into today's market would visibly affect the world, as we know it. Such modifications to automotive production standards would decrease our dependence on oil dramatically. According to Robert Buderi, the editor in chief of technology review, if we were able to increase the average gas mileage of all US vehicles to 40 miles per gallon, we would save over three million barrels of oil a day. This decrease in dependence on oil would help alleviate tension over control of oil reserves due to the lower demand. If plans for drilling for oil in the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were to be approved in conjunction with mass hybridization of vehicles, the US would be that much closer to being a self reliant oil producer. Both would aid each other in further development, increased oil production would allow for cheaper prices and allow for even greater success of hybrid vehicles. This lower demand would as well help conserve the reserves of oil that are left. While it is true that widespread hybridization would lessen the importation of oil around the world, it would not wipe out the market. The process of widespread hybridization would not take place overnight, it would be a process that would grow over a span of many years. This time span would allow for the oil industry as well as other markets affected by their production to adjust as time goes on; as well as allow the US oil production, if there will be one, to flourish. This technology would not eliminate the necessity for oil; it would merely decrease the need.
One must consider greatly their stance as an automobile owner. You must determine weather you are willing to further empty the world of its valuable resources and continue to pollute the planet in unnecessary volume. Although you may not see the large-scale effects of this pollution in the very near future, its presence is still looming. The long-term effect of continued pollution is very real and would affect all the inhabitants of our planet. While this is not cause for radical panic and claims of the end of the world, it is still a pressing issue that needs to be dealt with before it is too late. As a part of this planet you are partially responsible for its past present and future, a future, which may be very problematic. You can be a part of a great turnaround in our environmental stand, a revolution in pollution control and resource preservation.